Residues and Stripping

Residues can build up in cloth diapers from diaper rash creams, minerals in your water, detergent additives and urine.  The first step is to determine what type of problem you are having?

Urine Buildup – Diapers stink when peed on.

Diapers are not getting completely clean with each wash.  Read our Residue Suggestions below to beef up your cleaning routine to prevent the problem in the future.  To strip try Funk Rock by Rocking Green.

Soap Buildup – Baby is experiencing diaper rash or the diapers are repelling.

Soap buildups can happen when diapers aren’t rinsed well enough with each wash.  To prevent the problem in the future adjust how much soap you are using and rinse better by adding a rinse cycle or using warm water on your rinse; warm water rinses better than cold.  To strip diapers wash them with no detergents 4 or 5 times, until the water is no longer sudsy during the wash.

Diaper Rash Cream Buildup – Diapers will leak, fleece repellent issues, decreased absorbency.

To strip a buildup from diaper rash creams you can use a drop of blue Dawn to hand wash the diapers to remove any oils.  Put a small amount of dish soap on the fleece layer.  Rub vigorously or use a medium bristle scrubbing brush to scrub fleece.  Turn the diaper inside out and repeat.  Rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear.  To prevent diaper rash cream build up use diaper liners any time you use diaper rash creams, even if they are cloth diaper ‘friendly’.

Mineral Buildup – Diapers can feel stiff.

This can happen if you live in an area with hard water.  To prevent the problem try adding a water softener like Charlie’s Soap Laundry Booster to your regular wash routine.  To strip, soak diapers in 2 Tbs. of CLR for 30 minutes to overnight and then wash as you normally do 2 times through to rinse completely.

Microfiber Stink – microfiber tends to hold on to the smell.  Bleach just the inserts when this happens and bleach once a month to maintain them.  And remember, little bleach goes a long way.

Residue Suggestions:

Try adding something to your washing routine that you are not currently doing like:

  • If you are using mainstream laundry products consider a clean-rinsing product.  Mainstream laundry products hold in the stink (called buildup).
  • Try adding another entire hot wash cycle at the end with just water.  Warm/hot water rinses better than cold.
  • Try washing more frequently.  Waiting longer than three days is too long, unless you live in a dry climate.  Washing every other day is recommended.
  • Washing diapers daily can also cause problems with front loaders and high efficiency machines, because they use less water they clean with swish and if you don’t have enough diapers in a load or if you overfill the machine you won’t get a good swish.
  • Try a soak before washing: Baking Soda soak – ½ cup baking soda in washer filled with cold water.  Agitate and then let the diapers soak for 2 hours to overnight.  Baking soda can be included while washing or soaking diapers.  Make sure to use vinegar in the rinse to restore the pH of the diapers.  Otherwise you may end up with diaper rash.  The Baking Soda soak seems to work well with Soft water but not Hard water.
  • Try spraying diapers off before putting them into the pail.
  • Some air in the pail really does help prevent stinks.  Try keeping the lid open for the first day.
  • Is your water hot enough?  Not hot enough water because of cold water in the pipes coming into the machine first is a very common washing problem!  Open your machine during the hot cycle and feel it.  It should be very hot or too hot to touch.  If you water is not hot, run hot water nearby first to get hot water in the pipes.  This is more common in the winter time or in colder climates.  In the deep south we have hot water in the pipes most of the year.
  • Are you overloading the machine?  ¾ full is maximum, 2/3 full is best, less than half full might not be enough to get proper agitation.  Add a towel or 2.
  • Are your rinsing completely?  Run a cycle with your clean diapers on hot with no detergent and you might be surprised to find suds.  Try it!
  • Try vinegar in the rinse or stop using vinegar in the rinse.
  • Try adding Bi-O-Kleen Bac Out to the initial cold cycle .  This is helpful for odor prevention.
  • Try adding more oxygen cleaner to the hot cycle.
  • If you have hard water, you may need to soften your water, try Calgon Water Softener.
  • Sometimes a little bit of bleach seems to be the easiest answer.
  • Clean your washer. Your washer manual probably tells you how to do this for your machine.  Wipe it out.  Clean the dispensers.  That big rubbery part  in the front of your front loader needs frequent cleaning.  Running a full cycle of water and a little bleach now and then will keep the parts clean that you can’t reach.  Do this perhaps once every few months.

Now are you totally confused?

Here is what I found worked for me living in New Orleans where we have hard water:

  1. Spray off poopy diapers.
  2. Store all soiled diapers in a kitchen trash can with loose fitting step style lid lined with a waterproof pail liner.
  3. Every 2 days empty full bag of diapers into front loader
  4. Pre-wash with half a scoop of Charlie’s Soap.  Pre wash is a short cycle with water plus setting.
  5. Hot wash with one tablespoon Charlie’s Soap, 1/2 Tbs. Charlie’s Laundry Booster and 1/2 Tbs. oxygen bleach.  This is a long, hot, stain cycle with extra rinse.
  6. Once more short warm cycle, water plus setting, with no soap as an extra rinse.

If you still need help give us a call 504-596-6540!

Disclaimer:  Be sure to read all manufacturers specific instructions when washing your diapers, or you may void warranty.  ZukaBaby cannot be held liable for any damage done to your cloth diapers and accessories caused directly or indirectly by information on this website.